Mets pay annual $1 million to former MLB slugger Bobby Bonilla

Key Points
  • Former Major League Baseball slugger Bobby Bonilla is paid roughly $1 million by the New York Mets every July 1 until 2035.
  • Bonilla also gets a second payment of $500,000, divided between the Mets and Baltimore Orioles.
Bobby Bonilla was an outfielder for several baseball teams, notably the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets.
Getty Images

As the New York Mets have done for the last eight years, the club completed a transaction Wednesday, paying former Major League Baseball slugger Bobby Bonilla more than $1 million as part of a deferred payment plan.

The day, known as "Bobby Bonilla Day," occurs every July 1 until 2035. According to, the Mets pay Bonilla $1,193,248 each year as part of a contract he signed with the then Florida Marlins in 1996 for $23 million before he landed in New York via a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998.

The agreement was approved in 1999 when Mets owners, the Wilpon family, negotiated a long-term buyout instead of paying Bonilla the remaining $5.9 million on his deal when the team waived him. Bonilla's agent Dennis Gilbert arranged the deferment, which started in 2011 and included 8% interest.

In 2018, Gilbert told USA Today, Bonilla agreed to the payouts because "he wanted to make sure he had money for the future. He was concerned about taking care of his family."

Meanwhile, the Mets used the money saved from Bonilla's deferment to upgrade their roster, but the Wilpon family also got involved with the $65 billion Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme, costing the family millions.

"It's just unfortunate they got hood-winked in the (Bernie) Madoff deal. Otherwise, it would have been a win-win for both sides," Gilbert told USA Today.

Including this July 1 payout, the Mets have so far have paid Bonilla $10,739,232 and the club still owes him roughly $19 million. Bonilla also gets a second payment of $500,000, which is divided between the Mets and Baltimore Orioles. That agreement ends in 2023, and is valued at $12.5 million, according to ESPN.

Former MLB star Ken Griffey Jr. talks with players from the dugout of the National League team during the fourth inning against the American league team during the All-Stars Futures Game at Progressive Field on July 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jason Miller | Getty Images

Other notable former MLB players who received deferred payments include:

Also, the Orioles will begin paying first baseman Chris Davis roughly $3.5 million per year starting in 2023 as part of his 2016 contract valued at $161 million. The team will pay Davis the amount on July 1, 2023, until 2032. After that, payments drop to $1.4 million starting on July 1, 2033, and will conclude on July 1, 2037.

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